Bay News column

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We are all aware that house prices in Tauranga relative to income are among the highest in the country. One reason for this is that Tauranga is such a desirable place to live; another is that the high rate of retirees skews income figures.

Putting this aside, housing affordability is a major concern for a number of people, and an issue I hear mentioned a lot when out and about in the community.

We have a wide programme of work underway to improve housing supply and affordability.

As well as the Housing Accord we signed with the Tauranga City Council, we are freeing up more land faster, cutting building and compliance costs, reining in development contributions and improving sector skills and productivity.

The next step in our plan to help more New Zealanders into home ownership came into effect last week.

From 1 April National’s package doubled support for first home buyers and will help tens of thousands of young New Zealanders into home ownership.

The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant is being doubled - up to $20,000 for a couple purchasing a newly built home, and up to $10,000 for a couple purchasing an existing home.

Another part of our package to assist first home buyers makes the Welcome Home Loan scheme more accessible. More people will be able to access these government-guaranteed loans, requiring only 10 per cent deposits.

National is working hard to ensure more New Zealanders are able to own their own home.